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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Expressions of Grief

I’ve never liked the expression Rest In Peace or sometimes abbreviated R.I.P.  According to research I did the expression comes from the Latin, Requiescat in pace.  Even though those letters have appeared on tombstones for years it seems like Facebook and social media have made the usage even more prevalent.  I’ve noticed that when someone announces a death on Facebook they will often add R.I.P. to the end of their post.  It seems to have as much meaning as lol.  One of the reasons that people use to say, “May he/she rest in peace” was due to superstitious beliefs of the spirit of the deceased being able to return to haunt the living.  That’s not my reason for disliking the expression and I doubt most people would equate the expression with the superstition. 

Recently Margaret Thatcher, the previous Prime Minister of England, died and there was speculation in the press if the controversial politician would now Rest in Peace.  Really?  She was someone’s mother and grandmother.  I couldn’t tell from the articles if they were merely speculating whether she would now have rest or if they were wishing that she didn’t.  Either way I can’t embrace a belief that people are subjected to suffering after death.  I know there are many who will disagree on a religious basis and I respect their right to their beliefs. 
I think rather than saying Rest in Peace a better expression would be that he/she will always be remembered. Or better yet, let's express how we feel to the people who are left to live and grieve.  These are the people that need to be blessed with rest and peace.  These sentiments should be expressed to the living. 

“Birth and Death: we all move between these two unknowns.”  Bryant H. McGill



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